Friday, September 28, 2012

New Book: "Ethics, Sexual Orientation, and Choices about Children"

My new book -- Ethics, Sexual Orientation, and Choices about Children -- is now available from The MIT Press. 

In this book, I trace the history of a debate:  Would it be ethical for parents to  select the sexual orientation of their children? This question surfaced in the ethics literature in the late 1970s and has taken many twists and turns since then.  I report the views of the main players in this debate, and I evaluate them for what they mean for parental rights and the well-being of children.

This kind of choice is hypothetical at this point; there is no known way to ensure the sexual orientation of a child one way or the other. But scientific research has opened tantalizing prospects for extending the reach of parental choice over the traits of their children. Some would want to choose the sexual orientation of their children if they could. And that's where the debate begins:  What would it mean for gay and lesbian people if most parents took steps to have only straight children? Should people be able to choose gay and lesbian children, knowing that they might face disadvantages straight children would not? Various commentators have staked out starkly opposed positions.

One of the signal debates in bioethics today concerns the reach of parents into the lives of their children. My analysis considers sexual orientation as an in-depth case study, but it also offers a way to think about the motives for wanting to choose the traits of children in general, a way to evaluate the methods involved, and a way to assess the social effects of making those kinds of choices.
For further information, see

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